The Associated Press Is Using Robots To Write Minor League Baseball Stories
What I want to see is a robot breaking a big story on a Minor League Baseball beat -- like a major prospect is using steroids, or better, two teammates are wife-swapping. But for now all robots can do is write formulaic game reports. So what good are they?
Actually the Associated Press finds them pretty valuable. AP, along with a technology company called Automated Insights, will soon use automated software to write stories for 10,000 Minor League Baseball games that had previously not been covered by human reporters.
So robots technically aren't replacing human reporters just yet -- these games would have gone uncovered of not for the machines. But that day could soon be coming. Have you seen mainstream sportswriting at that level? Robots might be an improvement. Gizmodo:
In order to get the stories written, the AP is working with technology company Automated Insights, which builds software capable of analyzing data, deducing the most important information, and turning deductions into readable stories.
Here’s an example of a few paragraphs from a story about a Minor League Baseball game written by the software:
“Cristian Alvarado tossed a one-hit shutout and Yermin Mercedes homered and had two hits, driving in two, as the Delmarva Shorebirds topped the Greensboro Grasshoppers 6-0 in the second game of a doubleheader on Wednesday.
Alvarado (6-4) struck out eight and walked one to pick up the win.
In the bottom of the first, Delmarva took the lead on a solo home run by Mercedes. The Shorebirds then added four runs in the third and a run in the fourth. In the third, Steve Laurino hit a two-run single, while Ricardo Andujar hit a solo home run in the fourth.”
A couple of things here: play-by-play and stat summaries of Minor League Baseball games have limited appeal. Not a lot of folks are eager for Greensboro Grasshoppers game results, even in Greensboro. And that's pretty much why human reporters don't cover the games. Will anyone read these robot summaries?
And what about quotes? When will a robot interview a pitcher about that hanging curve he delivered that lost the game? And what of the third baseman's chronic hamstring injury that keeps flaring up and is keeping him from getting to the majors? Get me that exclusive, robot!
But if you write for the Associated Press, you should still be a little nervous. A lot of their human-written stuff closely resembles the AI story above.
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